Bunions


 

What are bunions?

Bunions are a common foot deformity that can affect anyone of any age, race or gender, however it most commonly affects women.  They are characterised as a bony bump that usually forms at the base of the big toe and forces the toe to move out of its normal position. Bunions can be inherited and are often caused by an abnormal structure of the foot. This makes the foot more prone to the development of bunions, especially when combined with certain contributing factors.

Why does it happen?

Bunions are most commonly caused by a structural defect within the foot joints, which can be acquired through injuries and activities but are often genetic. Bunions can be exacerbated by tightly fitting footwear and activities such as yoga, gymnastics and ballet. Other leading causes of bunions include conditions that damage the nerves in the feet, such as cerebral palsy or peripheral neuropathy, and injuries to the foot. However, certain risk factors can also contribute to the development of bunions

When the hind foot excessively pronates it increases pressure under the big toe joint and medial foot, this excessive pressure reduces the function of the joint so that it cannot bend to the full 45 degrees which is required for normal foot function. It is this reduction in movement that causes the protrusion of the joint.

 

Could it be arthritis?

The change in pressure and forces as explained previously can cause calcifications to form within the joint, ultimately leading to arthritis and restriction within the joint. When the bone has changed, it is impossible without surgery to improve range of motion.

Here at flawless feet we specialise in identifying bunions early, in hope that we can intervene in time before the bunion becomes arthritic.

 

What can you do about bunions?

There are many things we can do at flawless feet which can:

  1. Reduce painful bunions
  2. Improve function of bunions
  3. Slow the progression of bunions forming

First line of treatment depends on your individual symptoms however treatment usually consists of orthotic prescription, pain reduction using high intensity therapies, footwear and exercise prescription. This is all decided upon your initial consultation through a thorough assessment of foot and lower limb function.

Customised foot orthotics are used for those whom have been through surgery, or are looking to proceed with surgical or non surgical approaches to bunion management. They can help to manage the cause of the bunion, which is often down to poor foot alignment and muscular imbalances. Helping to realign the foot posture will reduce pressure over the toe joint and improve function, in turn reducing pain and trauma. 
 

What happens if I leave my bunions?

Here at flawless feet we can’t predict the future, however bunions generally worsen with age. Generally the older our patients are, the worse their problems become and the harder it is to resolve the issue.

Nine times out of ten, bunion pain can be significantly reduced with conservative interventions, very few people will need to go on and have bunion surgery. Unless however it is the aesthetic which is your main concern.

 


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